With the rise of smartphones and mobile email, the line between work and play has gotten increasingly blurred. Scientists are beginning to look into the psychological side effects of this "always on" mentality, and unsurprisingly, the results aren't good. According to a new study from three college professors, led by Liuba Belkin from Lehigh University, checking email after work hours—one of the many behaviors associated with this mentality—is connected to feelings of emotional exhaustion.
The trio analyzed data from 297 working adults, looking specifically at the role of "organizational expectations regarding off hour emailing" and mental health. Here, they found that checking work email after leaving the office "negatively impacts employee emotional states, leading to burnout and diminished work-family balance," reads a news release on the Lehigh University website.
This study is reportedly the first to statistically identify after-hours emailing as a primary stressor in the lives of many working Americans. "Email is notoriously known to be the impediment of the recovery process," said the authors as quoted by Elle. "Its accessibility contributes to experience of work overload since it allows employees to engage in work as if they never left the workspace, and at the same time, inhibits their ability to psychologically detach from work-related issues via continuous connectivity." Given the new data, it could be worth following in France's footsteps and instating a labor reform law defending "the right to disconnect."
Tell us: Do you believe we should make a change at the legal level? Try out the Buddhify app if you're having trouble disconnecting after work.